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Work in Development

FEBRUARY - New Commission

In 1982, the oil rig Ocean Ranger sank off the coast of Newfoundland during a Valentine’s Day storm. All eighty-four men aboard died. February is the story of Helen O’Mara, one of those left behind when her husband, Cal, drowns on the rig. It begins in the present-day, more than twenty-five years later, but spirals back again and again to the “February” that persists in Helen’s mind and heart. A story which takes a pivotal moment of devastation and focuses not on the moment itself but on all the moments that surround it; the ones that come before, after, and are altered by it.


February will have a World Premiere in St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador in November 2023.


February is based on the award-winning novel by St. John’s author Lisa Moore and is composed by Laura Kaminsky with a libretto by Moore and Kaminsky. OOTA’s newest operatic commission will have a World Premiere in 2023 in St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador.


Lisa Moore

Lisa Moore
Moore is regarded as one of Canada’s most influential contemporary writers. A short-storyist, novelist, playwright, and visual artist, her work is emotional, poignant, and offers an authentic perspective of Newfoundland and its people.Moore has won the Commonwealth Fiction Prize, CBC’s Canada Reads, and the Writers’ Trust Engel Findley Award, and received nominations for the Man Booker Prize, Scotiabank Giller Prize, and Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize.

“I am thrilled to be adapting my novel February for the stage as an opera with Laura Kaminsky and Opera on the Avalon. Laura’s music is charged, sensitive, sometimes elegiac, sometimes momentous and sublime – as with the rising and falling of waves on a tumultuous sea. It is exquisite in its build of finely calibrated emotion. I am thrilled to imagine this story being sung, being played, being music. I am grateful to Opera on the Avalon for giving me the gift of being able to work with Laura, and everyone at the company who are experts at their craft


Laura Kaminsky

Laura Kaminsky is an American composer with “an ear for the new and interesting” (The New York Times).


She frequently addresses social and political issues in her work with a distinct musical language that is “full of fire as well as ice, contrasting dissonance and violence with tonal beauty and meditative reflection” (American Record Guide).


With works performed around the world, Kaminsky is cited as “one of the top 35 female composers in classical music” (The Washington Post).

“As soon as I opened the novel February and read the opening pages, ‘Sunrise or Sunset, November 2008’ I was hooked and immediately heard it in my mind’s eye as something to be adapted for the operatic stage. Drawn in by Moore’s powerful language, within a few paragraphs, I felt as if I knew Helen, and wanted only to know her more. Moore created a glorious, albeit grief-filled, journey through Helen’s life and that of her family members, in the lead-up to and the aftermath of the Ocean Ranger tragedy. The images of the place that Moore painted with her eloquent prose and the philosophical and emotional insights she brought to light in the rendering of the characters were mesmerizing and ever so beautiful” said Kaminsky.

Laura Kaminsky

75 on 75

75 ON 75 PHOTO scaled
Photo by David Howells | Abra Whitney, The Rock Performs, 2020
In recognition of the 75th anniversary of Newfoundland’s Confederation to Canada, 75 on 75 will feature Newfoundland and Labrador artists, musicians, actors, dancers, writers, historians, and social figures presenting personal works in regard to Confederation.